Since Rush Limbaugh came out and expressed interest in buying the St. Louis Rams, black NFL players have let it be known that they would never play for a team owned by the hate radio host. “He’s a jerk. … He could offer me whatever he wanted, I wouldn’t play for him,” said New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott. Now, NFL Players executive director DeMaurice Smith is also opposing Limbaugh’s bid. In an e-mail to the union’s executive committee yesterday, Smith wrote:
I’ve spoken to the Commissioner [Roger Goodell] and I understand that this ownership consideration is in the early stages. But sport in America is at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer, and when it transcends. Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred. […]
I have asked our players to embrace their roles not only in the game of football but also as players and partners in the business of the NFL,” said Smith in the e-mail. “They risk everything to play this game, they understand that risk and they live with that risk and its consequences for the rest of their life. We also know that there is an ugly part of history and we will not risk going backwards, giving up, giving in or lying down to it.
Our men are strong and proud sons, fathers, spouses and I am proud when they stand up, understand this is their profession and speak with candor and blunt honesty about how they feel.
In 2003, ESPN fired Limbaugh from Sunday NFL Countdown for saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the “media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.”